Invasive plants often take over places where soils or existing plants have been disturbed – sites like field edges, abondoned farms, roadsides, or at trailheads. One of the best things you can do to minimize the spread of invasive plants is to leave soils and areas of native plants alone, especially in places where invasive plants are nearby.
Ultimately, the best way to protect wildlife and habitats in the face of climate change is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the problem. The first step is to understand our individual and organizational/community contributions to climate change, also known as our "carbon footprint" - i.e. how much greenhouse gas emissions do our activities and behaviors contribute to the atmosphere. Check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator from The Nature Conservancy. From there, we can identify opportunities to reduce these emissions by making changes to our behaviors.
Climate change is throwing a number of curveballs at NH's wildlife. While rising temperatures often get the most attention, we're also seeing wackier, less predictable weather in general.
Conservation and education organizations throughout New Hampshire offer a variety of workshops and trainings focused on wildlife habitats, forest management, and good stewardship. Attending one of these workshops can provide a great learning experience and often involves a chance to go in the field to observe the natural resources or management being discussed, interaction with professionals, and learning from the experiences of others. Workshops can range from short indoor presentations to day-long outdoor field trips.
There are many opportunities for municipalities to include climate impacts and wildlife protection in plans, policies, and regulations. It's important for local residents, interested citizens, and municipal board members advocate for the incorporation of these topics into relevant documents, so that the municipal staff and boards responsible for these documents know there is local support.
Invasive insects and diseases can have devastating impacts on the managed and natural environments into which they are introduced. These introduced pests can have serious negative impacts on agricultre and forestry. Some invasive pests of concern in New Hampshire right now include emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and asian longhorned beetle (not yet in NH, but nearby).
Pesticides have received significant attention for their potential role in pollinator population declines. Individuals and communities who are looking to help conserve pollinators can plant habitat that supports their populations, including a diversity of flowering plants. However, some seeds and plants sold at garden centers have been previously treated with systemic pesticides, including neonicotinoids. This can threaten bees and other pollinators as they pollinate or forage on treated plants.
Volunteers throughout New Hampshire help to monitor and protect the water quality of our rivers, streams, and lakes. You can get involved to help collect samples and promote the importance of maintaining water quality. Visit specific program sites below for more information.
We love wildlife, but when wild animals are in the wrong place at the wrong time - bears at your birdfeeder, skunks under your porch, or deer in the garden - you need a strategy. When wildlife/human conflicts occur, it's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each wildlife problem is unique and you need to have some understanding of the animal and the available control methods before beginning any control strategy.
A great way to learn how to recognize and control invasive plants is to become a volunteer yourself. For many of us, hands-on learning is a great way to educate ourselves.